Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has received the over 20,000 decampees and returnees from other political parties to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, describing the move as an indication of the party’s dominance of the state.
The governor and leader of the party in the state has also tasked party faithful and stakeholders of the PDP across the 329 wards of the state to embrace and integrate the returning politicians back to the fold.
Governor Emmanuel gave the indications while fielding questions from newsmen, after the Awa Iman Ward 1 PDP meeting, at Awa Iman Civic Centre, in Onna Local Government Area.
The governor clarified that the purpose of the meeting which, according to him, was held simultaneously in all the 329 wards of the state was to strengthen the party and reassured the people that Akwa Ibom remains a PDP state.
He assured the new and returning members of a sense of belonging in the party, which he said would retain control of the state.
“We are holding Ward meetings to look at our ward structures, to do a review and also receive decampees.
“In all the 329 wards of the State we are receiving returnees to the party. 20,000 people returning to the party and there’s no way we could have done that at one location”.
“What we are doing today is also to reassure the people that this is a PDP state and that we are ready to hold the ground and win the game.
“You can see that the who-is-who in the ward is here and as a party man I have also come down to my ward because nobody is above the party”, he added.
Speaking earlier, during the party meeting, the governor charged the party faithful to be committed and steadfast in the party to show cause for trust.
“He also assured those who participated, but could not win, in the just concluded party primaries of inclusion in governance.
According to him, “In any election, one person has to emerge because there is only one seat to occupy, but all hopes are not lost for the others. Government is large enough to accommodate diverse interests… In politics, it is necessary to build trust. Be steadfast so that you can be trusted”.
Speaking on behalf of decampees from the APC in Onna, a former Vice Chairman of Onna Local Government Council and Chapter Secretary of the APC, Hon. Julius Okon said his defection to the then ACN and subsequently, the APC followed his close ties with some persons on the other side of the political divide and a seemingly promising future, has chosen to return, with the main structure of the APC, to the PDP where he had been a foundational member.
Hon. Okon appealed to the governor and the leadership of PDP to protect his interest and other decampees across ONNA LGA, adding that their return to the PDP was in earnest, to identify with the obvious and laudable development strides of Governor Emmanuel-led government and to support his succession plan.